Plastics bags take a long time to decompose. It can vary from 10-100 years which made them a subject of focus in order to manage wastes. After Habagat (monsoon rains) hit Manila that caused great flooding, plastic ban issue sprouted right away. Cities in metro manila ban the usage of plastic but is this really the solution?
I think it is a good solution but it’s not just all pro’s. Banning plastics would surely decrease the non-biodegradable landfill in our country but we need to strengthen the usage of its alternatives.
There are those that shifted from plastic bags to paper bags. This can be better for the environment but it still has a trade-off since more tress are needed to be cut down for this.
There are others that use what they claim as the biodegradable plastic which decomposes faster and is claimed to be decomposed by only a matter of 6 months. Although this is a better idea, the negative I see in this is that biodegradable plastics are not as durable as the regular ones. This is why I often see people using two biodegradable plastics bags instead of just one just to double their quality. If we’ll assume that this happens to everyone, then this just means our waste would double in a particular period as compared to our previous consumption. It may now be twice as much but at least this is only for a shorter span as compared to the much long wait needed for the regular ones.
I think one of the best solutions was encouraging people to use ECO-Bags. It is because reusable items such as these do decrease our piles of garbage significantly since one bag can be reused a lot times and is only subject to the user how many times he will re-use it.
This now boils down to what is really the effective strategy to reduce waste. It is not easy to shift from one practice to the other overnight. Instead of banning, I suggest a gradual decrease on the usage so that people would really get used to it. For an instance, whenever they shop, since it is an abrupt change that they should adapt to bring ECO-bags with them, they end up having piles of ECO-bags at home which is more than what they need. The key to this type of problem is really the discipline of the people. If we would just be responsible enough to do things responsibly such as doing our part to throw our trashes properly, we could avoid consequences of irresponsible actions such as heavy flooding.
The classic 3R’s – reduce, reuse, & recycle – are still a good solution to follow. I hope authorities would not just be able to implement strict ordinances but help develop a culture of discipline to its citizens in order for the collective actions to last and truly be effective.